UPDATE: Friday, February 18  3:00 a.m.

Today, Governor Greg Gianforte spoke with Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, at the request of the minister. Below is a readout of their conversation:

'Governor Greg Gianforte today spoke with Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra about the vaccine and quarantine mandates the Canadian government reimposed on cross border truckers. The governor cautioned the minister about the negative impacts the prime minister’s COVID-related mandates are having on transportation, trade, and travel. Governor Gianforte pressed Minister Alghabra on the Trudeau government’s plans and timeline to eliminate the mandates against truckers, which are estimated to force thousands of drivers out of the trucking industry if not reversed. Governor Gianforte praised provincial governments for easing and eliminating their COVID-related mandates, and expressed hope the prime minister will take similar action. Citing Montana providing vaccinations to Canadian truckers free of charge last year as an example, the governor emphasized the importance of leaders of Montana and Canada to keep an open dialogue to address bilateral issues.'

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Trucks laden with groceries and other good headed from Canada into the U.S. have been kept from delivering their loads in Montana, and Montana truckers are being quarantined in Canada.

Governor Greg Gianforte has been in contact with Canadian officials encouraging them to keep the wheels of commerce moving across the border into Montana.

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“Here's the reality,” said Governor Gianforte. “Our supply chains are broken, and these reimposed vaccine mandates on truckers which just came back into existence in January came at exactly the wrong time. I mean, with the supply chain broken, we're not getting stuff to grocery stores or pharmacies, and we've got to keep our truckers on the road.”

Gianforte said the truckers, who usually travel alone, are not in great risk of contracting COVID.

“They're quarantined in their cabs,” he said. “These mandates that are in place right now means that when a Canadian trucker comes into the US, even if they've been vaccinated, even if they've been boosted, then when they cross the border again, they have to go into quarantine and they can't work, which means their trucks are off the road, and they're not getting a paycheck because they're not hauling goods.”

Gianforte, who helped to craft a mandate-free state in the last legislative session, said truckers are being held prisoner to Canadian policies.

“It's frightening to me to see the anti freedom actions being taken by Prime Minister Trudeau,” he said. “That's why I joined together with Premier Kenney, Premier Moe, as well as 15 other governors and sent a letter to both the Biden administration and Prime Minister Trudeau and his administration saying ‘end the madness; end the mandates, let our truckers go back to work so that we can rebuild our supply chain and refill the shelves'.”

Gianforte ended by asking leaders from both governments to get together and end the standoff to get shipments moving across the U.S. and Canadian border.

“This makes absolutely no sense,” he said. “We know mandates don't work and I'm calling on Prime Minister Trudeau and Joe Biden to get together and figure this out and get our truckers back on the roads.”

Prime Minister Trudeau has imposed the Emergencies Act in an attempt to force an end to the truckers’ freedom convoy.

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